Hugo Award–nominated artist Julie Dillon is kickstarting a series of annual art books featuring exclusive new fantasy illustrations. It’s called Imagined Realms and it’ll knock your proverbial socks off.

Catch a peek at some of the awesome illustrations after the jump.
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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the forthcoming novel Daughter of Gods and Shadows by Jayde Brooks.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-17

Interviews & Profiles

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BOOK REVIEW: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

REVIEW SUMMARY: A novel with a lot of big ideas that fails to deliver on its exciting premise and ultimately falls flat.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Fascinating “Greatcoats” concept; very well choreographed sword fight scenes.
CONS: Very muddy middle; little to no pay off on the potential in the first half of the story; characters chase a MacGuffin around for no reason; the ending is full of several deus ex machina plot points; vague world building and even vaguer characters.
BOTTOM LINE: While Traitor’s Blade is bursting with potential, it never becomes more than a mediocre fantasy outing. The ending is a huge let down.

The second I read the blurb for Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade, I knew I had to read it. There is nothing I love more than a fantasy novel with some swashbuckling rogues looking for adventure and redemption. Traitor’s Blade sounded like a rousing fantasy version of The Three Musketeers and you can’t imagine my disappointment when the book failed to deliver. This book had so much potential but as it dragged on it got harder and harder to forgive it.
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This Summer, readers are once again reminded that Stephen King is one of the most popular authors of our time. If you haven’t seen his new book, Mr. Mercedes, on bookstore shelves, you are either not paying attention or not going to the bookstore. Meanwhile, television viewers are enjoying the second season of Under the Dome, the adaptation of his 2009 novel of the same name.

Head on over to Kirkus Reviews to read Part 2 of The Stephen King Edition of Book-to-TV/Film Adaptations, in which I cover the short fiction adaptations!

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Craig Cormick in an Australian science communicator and author. He was born in Wollongong in 1961, and is known for his creative writing and social research into public attitudes towards new technologies. He has lived mainly in Canberra, but has also in Iceland (1980–81) and Finland (1984–85). He has published 15 books of fiction and non-fiction, and numerous articles in refereed journals. He has been active in the Canberra writing community, teaching and editing, was Chair of the ACT Writers Centre from 2003 to 2008 and in 2006 was Writer in Residence at the University of Science in Penang, Malaysia.

Five Lessons on The Pitfalls of Writing A Sequel

by Craig Cormick

Everyone loves a sequel, right?

Well, not necessarily. They are great for those who enjoyed a book and want to continue the enjoyment and spend more time with those characters and in that land, or fighting those aliens or demons or whatever. But they can be the devil to write (not a paranormal reference).

I’ve been trying to find a good metaphor to best explain the particular problems that writing the second book in a series presents for an author? It’s not quite like having a second child. It’s not quite like visiting an exotic city for the second time. It’s not even quite like having sex for the second time with the same partner (not a paranormal romance reference).

But in a way it’s a little bit like all of these, as there is a certain undeniable special magic that goes with the first that is lacking in the second.
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

This week we asked our participants to tell us about authors & books that they keep intending to read by haven’t yet read…

Q: Elusive Authors: Who are some authors you’ve yet to read, or only read minimally (one book at most) who you keep intending to read or read again. In other words, what author(s) fits the question “I know, I keep meaning to try BOOK X or AUTHOR Y!”

Here’s what they said
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Here’s the cover and synopsis for Jo Walton’s forthcoming novel The Just City.

[UPDATE: This is apparently not going to be the final cover. See comment below. ]

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This is, hands down, the best summary and analysis of Frank Herbert’s Dune I’ve ever seen.

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Got a hot Free Fiction Tip? Tell me here

Want these delicious links emailed to you once a week? Sign up for the Free SF/F/H Fiction Newsletter

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Bravo, Onion. Bravo…

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-16

Interviews & Profiles

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[NOTE: This is part of a series of Q&As with the Shirley Jackson Award nominees.]

Christopher Barzak is the author of the Crawford Fantasy Award winning novel, One for Sorrow, which has been made into the Sundance feature film “Jamie Marks is Dead”. His second novel, The Love We Share Without Knowing, was a finalist for the Nebula and Tiptree Awards. He is also the author of two collections: Birds and Birthdays, a collection of surrealist fantasy stories, and Before and Afterlives, a collection of supernatural fantasies. He grew up in rural Ohio, has lived in a southern California beach town, the capital of Michigan, and has taught English outside of Tokyo, Japan, where he lived for two years. His next novel, Wonders of the Invisible World, will be published by Knopf in 2015. Currently he teaches fiction writing in the Northeast Ohio MFA program at Youngstown State University.

Christopher answered a few of my questions about Before and Afterlives, which has been nominated for Best Single-Author Collection!


KC: Congrats on the Shirley Jackson Award nomination! Will you tell us about your short story collection and what inspired you to write it?
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REVIEW SUMMARY: The Third Craft Sequence novel continues to show the burgeoning skills of one of the newest and freshest voices in fantasy

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Diverse, interesting cast of characters; conceit of the Craftverse transplants nicely to yet another new setting; pacing is improved from previous novels.
CONS: Although not a direct sequel, novel doesn’t stand on its own well.
BOTTOM LINE: The Craft Sequence gets better in this third volume, but it’s not the place to start your engagement with this world and characters.

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You already know who New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox is, but you might not know it. If you’ve read the novelization of the recent Daredevil, Man of Steel, Godzilla, Ghostrider or Underworld films, you’ve read a Greg Cox novel. Beyond those, he’s written in the Batman, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Iron Man,  Xena, Terminator, X-Men, among other universes, and over 14 Star Trek novels.  Greg is an expert, he’s been doing this for over twenty years!  And he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions  about his newest novelization of the recent Godzilla movie, the movie tie-in industry, and more!

Let’s get to the interview!


Andrea Johnson: About a week after reading your novelization of Godzilla, I went and saw the movie. Your novelization expanded many  portions of the film, including extra introductory material, and further development of side characters. When writing a novelization, how do you know what areas you can expand on, and when to “stick to the script”?

Greg Cox: In general, the studios prefer that you stick to the script in terms of the overall plot and dialogue, but there’s often room to flesh out the characters and fill in more of their backgrounds, especially with the supporting characters who might not get as much screen time and development as the leads. On Godzilla, I also had the advantage of seeing early drafts of the scripts, including scenes that were cut or shortened in the final movie.

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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Max Gladstone! – Sarah Chorn


Max Gladstonehas taught in southern Anhui, wrecked a bicycle in Angkor Wat, and been thrown from a horse in Mongolia. Max graduated from Yale University, where he studied Chinese. You can find out more about him, and his books on his website.

Life’s Objectivity

by Max Gladstone

Life’s not as objective as we imagine.

An airplane transfer is a pleasant brisk walk—or an infuriating ordeal if you have a bad knee or a degenerated disc. An easy climb may be impossible for someone without legs, or not, if they have the right prosthetic. A ten pound book bag is a trivial burden for some and back-wrenching for others. A dyslexic person and a speed reader occupy different spaces of possibility. Depending on one’s position in the world, a hundred dollars may be a nice dinner for two, a life-changing amount of money, or an insignificant fraction of a dividend payment. Some people respond to deadlines with grim determination and gritted teeth. Others lie sleepless for a month before an important meeting, and comparison-shop earplugs and blackout curtains.
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Do you like fantasy books that pit the forces of Good against the powers of Evil? If so, then read on to see how you can get Walter Wangerin Jr.’s National Book Award winner The Book of the Dun Cow for only 99 cents!

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Here’s the description and star-studded table of contents for the new fantasy anthology Beyond the Pale edited by Henry Herz:

Beyond the Pale is an anthology of fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal stories that skirt the border between our world and others. Was that my imagination, or did I hear something under my bed? What was that blurred movement in my darkened closet? There is but a thin Veil separating the real and the fantastic, and therein dwell the inhabitants of these stories. Beyond the Pale contains eleven short stories by award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon), Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn), Heather Brewer (Vladimir Tod), Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Nancy Holder (Wicked), Gillian Philip (Rebel Angels), and Jane Yolen (Owl Moon). The noun “pale” refers to a stake (as in impaling vampires) or pointed piece of wood (as in a paling fence). “Pale” came to refer to an area enclosed by a paling fence. Later, it acquired the figurative meaning of an enclosed and therefore safe domain. Conversely, “beyond the pale” means foreign, strange, or threatening. You are about to go Beyond the Pale.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Jules Sherred at Geeky Pleasures found this Jason Derulo Parody aimed squarely at geeks. If you like it, you can download it for free.

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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the military fantasy anthology Operation Arcana by John Joseph Adams, forthcoming in April 2015.

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